Tag Archives: Polska

Warsaw from the viewing deck of the Palace of Culture and Science (PKiN)

There are few buildings in Warsaw, Poland that are more controversial than Pałac Kultury i Nauki (Palace of Culture and Science), also known as PKiN (pronounced Peh-keen).

As it’s a symbol of Soviet Union’s communist oppression of the country, some would like to see it demolished and gone from the landscape. Others say that even though it’s part of painful history, it’s history nevertheless and should not be touched.

Until recently, it was the tallest building in Warsaw, but it has been eclipsed by the Varso Tower, which is now not only the tallest building in Warsaw but also in all of Europe. 

“The Controversial Story of Stalin’s Palace in Warsaw” by Wojciech Oleksian published in Culture.pl offers a very thorough history of “Joseph Stalin’s idea of building a skyscraper over 200 metres (650 feet) tall in the middle of Warsaw’s post-war ruins” complete with photos from the early 1950s showing how out of place this gleaming white building looked like in the middle of bombed ruins of post-WWII Warsaw.

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Museum of Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland

Visiting Collegium Maius

May 12, 1364 – Polish King Kazimierz III (Casimir) the Great issues a royal charter establishing a university in Kraków, the capital of Poland at that time.

While there are already some thirty universities in operation in Europe, this is the first university in Poland, and the second oldest in Central Europe. Charles University in Prague was founded some twenty years earlier, in 1348.

The university has no buildings, the lectures are held in various buildings around the city. After Kazimierz’s death in 1370, his successor Louis I of Hungary has no interest supporting the Polish university, so the few professors and students move to Prague or other universities. The kings change, however, and in 1390s, the new king and queen – Władysław II Jagiełło and Jadwiga of Anjou – decide to revive the university and succeed. Jadwiga even bequeaths part of her private wealth and estate to the university.

The following year, 1400 King Jagiełło donates to the university a house he bought near the edge of the city, and inaugurates reopening of the university on July 26, 1400, with 206 students enrolled.

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